What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary dual-purpose process that schools (1) must be worthy of the trust placed in them to provide high-quality learning and (2) clearly demonstrate continual self-improvement. An accredited school is focused on a mission and goals for students; it is student-oriented and examines its students’ performance continuously; it accepts objective evaluation from a team of outside peer professionals trained by ACS WASC; it maintains a qualified faculty within an effectively organized school; it collaboratively assesses the quality of its educational programs on a regular basis; and it plans for the future.
What is ACS/WASC?
The Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS WASC), a world-renowned accrediting association, a regional accrediting association in the United States, works closely with the Office of Overseas Schools under the Department of State. ACS WASC provides assistance to schools located in California, Hawaii, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Fiji, Asia, and other parts of the world. ACS WASC extends its services to approximately 5,200 public, independent, church-related, charter, online, supplementary education programs/centers, and proprietary pre-K-12 and adult schools; and works with 20 associations in joint accreditation processes, and collaborates with other organizations such as the California Department of Education, the Hawaii Department of Education, the Association of Christian Schools International, the Council of International Schools, and the International Baccalaureate.
How do Firebaugh students benefit from WASC accreditation?
ACS WASC accreditation is a school improvement process and therefore is a process that serves as the foundation for quality education. An accredited school is a statement to the broader community and the stakeholders that it is trustworthy institution for student learning and committed to ongoing improvement.
- The public is assured that accredited institutions are evaluated extensively and conform to expectations of performance and quality. Because accreditation requires continual self-evaluation and monitoring of its programs and operations in relation to the impact on student learning and periodic external review, the public can be assured that the educational quality of programs and services offered by the institution are current, reflect high standards of quality, and are offered with integrity.
- Students can be assured that the institutions in which they seek to enroll have been reviewed and the educational programs that are offered have been evaluated for quality.
- Educational institutions benefit from the stimulus for self-study and self-improvement provided by the accreditation process.
Additional Benefits of Graduating from an ACS WASC Accredited School
- Fulfills the admissions requirement for most 4-year universities
- Allows students to apply for financial aid for college/university
- Allows students to use prior coursework credits if they are transferring to another WASC-accredited high school
- An accredited diploma is required for training/employment state agencies, such as CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, CHP, CalFire, CalTrans, and many other career opportunities
- Required by all branches of the US military
- Many other opportunities to access and participate in that require a high school diploma from an ACS WASC-accredited school
What do we have to do to stay accredited?
Each term of accreditation is comprised of a 6-year cycle, with a mid-cycle review at the end of the third year of the term of accreditation. Thus, an outside visiting review team will visit the school twice, and after the end of the 6th year will recommend a new term of accreditation after the team validates the required standards of performance and quality that all accredited schools are required to possess. All accredited schools have three (3) requirements during the term of accreditation;
1. Pay their annual membership fees
2. Annually update their Schoolwide Action Plan for Continuous School Improvement
3. Provide volunteers to be trained and participate as Visiting Committee Members for other institutions
undergoing the WASC accreditation process
For more information about ACS/WASC, please visit https://www.acswasc.org/